When starting out with anything in life, we never truly know exactly what we are doing, but as time goes on we adapt and start to learn and get better and better at it. Practice does make perfect after all. This same thing applies with training.
A lot of young guys join a gym wanting to grow big and muscular but have no clue what exactly to do to achieve this. There is a lot more to it than just getting yourself to the gym each day and doing a few exercises.
Here we highlight a few of the common mistakes new guys and girls seem to make when starting out on their ‘get fit’ journey. This in turn should help you avoid these pit falls and hopefully save you a lot of time and get you on the right track quicker.
Training too often
Many guys starting out are not aware of the fact that your muscles, just like your body and mind, need rest in order to grow and recuperate. You need to train them hard in the gym and then allow them to recover and grow by giving them some time to rest. So be sure to give yourself at least one to two days off from weight training a week.
Mimicking professional bodybuilders training programmes
I have fallen in to this trap many times. You read one of these famous fitness magazines, and find Arnold Schwarzenegger’s (or some other big bodybuilder’s) training routine, and immediately think, if you follow it you will transform your body into his. You need to understand that he has adapted his training programme to suit his needs. For example he knows what he needs to improve on in his body, what his diet is, how much recovery he needs and what his goals are, and thus designs his workout to compliment his specific requirements. Thus most of his requirements will be different to yours, and chances are he will be taking some form of supplementation or anabolic steroids which will help him recover much quicker than you can. Although, there are certain principles which you can take away from his routine and apply to yours. For example you can discover new exercises, see how he groups his body parts, what rep ranges he uses etc.
Having too high expectations
I would say this is the most common oversight. You start training and expect to see dramatic changes within weeks or even days. This is quite a process and it WILL take time. It’s something you just have to come to terms with and accept in order for you to progress and be consistent. Granted most people new to training and working out will see some good changes relatively quickly after beginning, but after some time the changes will start to slow down. It is then when you need to understand you are in it for the long term and you really need to stay motivated and not lose heart, as it is all about being constant and consistent.
Not eating right
This is another major mistake which I’m sure the majority of people starting out make. It is easy to think that in order to gain or lose weight all you have to do is get in the gym and push around some weights. Especially when you see all these huge ripped guys working out in the gym. What you do not see is them going home and eating tons of the right food in order to help them recover. Food is fuel for your body. Just as a car needs the right kind of fuel to run, and to run efficiently, so too does your body. So there is a need to do some research into foods, and the macronutrients of certain foods which will be most beneficial to you; otherwise you can end up wasting a lot of your time training and training seeing small improvements, when all you needed to do was adjust your diet. Have a look through our nutrition section on the website as there are many articles about what are the right foods to eat.
Expecting a certain diet to work for you
This is similar to the second point above. In the same way as people copy professional bodybuilder’s workout routines, people tend to copy their diets as well. We need to understand that every one of us is different in some way. We have different heights, weights, body fat levels etc. So therefore each of us will have different needs when it comes to our own diet. For example a guy who weighs 100kg with a body fat of 12% will most likely require a lot more calories to maintain his weight than say a guy who weighs 70kg with a body fat of 12%. Again there are certain principles which you can take away from their diets, such as what foods to eat, certain meal ideas, discovering new meals, how to group your foods, when to eat certain things etc. I guess you could copy someone’s diet, but you would need to decrease or increase the portion sizes to suit the amount of calories which YOU need. But with everything you need to find what works best for YOU. A lot of people these days can easily lose weight by keeping their diet the same, but just cutting out a few things like sugar, sweets, flour, soft drinks, alcohol etc.
Falling prey to marketing gimmicks and before and after advertising pictures
In today’s world everything is about making money, whether something works or not. It’s a very sad thing. As long as you can convince someone to buy your product you can make money. A lot of companies, even supplement companies, advertise with these before and after pictures of people who have allegedly used their product and transformed their body within a month or within weeks. So when you see that a part of your mind can’t help but think, “dammm if they can do that so quickly so then so can I, and surely it must work.” What you don’t know is that most of those pictures have been taken on the same day, the before AND the after pictures. Once the photo is on their computer they can manipulate it as they please, adding in a six pack here, and a bicep there, and subtracting some cellulite from here and there. The message which we all need to hear so often is that IT DOES TAKE TIME. You have to be patient and stick with it by remaining consistent to ensure changes and even to maintain those changes.
So there you have it, please be sure to do your homework before you decide to do anything, as it can save you heaps and heaps of time.